Monday, August 25, 2014

Inquiring minds want to know: How green was my valley?

Thanks to (a) John F. Kemeny, the 35th President of the U.S.A., (b) Yorkshire Pudding, the most pixilated pixie ever, (c) the wonderful internet, and (d) the comments section of my last post, I have now been made aware of the Brague National Park in the Côte d’Azur region of southeastern France. I already knew about the Brague winery and the Brague River, but to learn of a national park is, how do you say, an extra added bonus (an uber-redundancy if there ever was one) .

And not only that, I have also just learned that the Brague River includes the Brague Valley River Walk. Take time to read the charming description of its loveliness by someone whose first language was definitely not English. If you ever go there, remember to “walk downhill progressively until the river of which the path goes along the left edge of the river” and to “enjoy numerous landscapes and cool areas” and to ”follow the way, passby the House of the nature. Take left the track, and the road which leads to Valbonne by the Graveyard”.

Leaving aside the fact that anywhere Yorkshire Pudding is would be, by definition, a cool area, I think one should always walk uphill conservatively and downhill progressively. Unless it’s the other way round. I can never keep that straight.

I am also confused as to whether it is “Feed a cold, starve a fever” or “Starve a cold, feed a fever” and I would appreciate any help I can get from you wonderful people out there in the dark a reliable source.

Because a lot of what you can find on the internet isn’t true, especially if it’s in Wikipedia.

Most of all, I think Yorkshire Pudding should print down a copy of the directions for the Brague Valley River Walk (9.8km, 3 hrs) and hie himself, camera in tow, off to that particular Gallic hinterland, and then publish a blogpost that would highlight for all of us some of those numerous landscapes and cool areas.

Don’t you agree?

Friday, August 22, 2014

No, never would I leave you at all

Many years ago I read the book Man and the Computer by John Kemeny, a professor of mathematics who later became president of Dartmouth University. Near the beginning of the book he wrote, “The computer is incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid. Man is unbelievably slow, inaccurate, and brilliant. The marriage of the two is a force beyond calculation.”

It is a statement that sticks in the mind.

Fast forward (now there’s an obsolete phrase) to today.

You can learn the most amazing things on the internet. You can also learn (contrary to popular opinion among the intelligentsia) the most amazing things on television. If you combine watching television with searching the internet (a sort of marriage as well) , the result can also be a force beyond calculation.

Case in point.

Mrs. RWP and I were watching the highly educational television program Judge Judy this afternoon, and I remarked that the defendant in one case looked a lot like Robert Goulet.

“Whatever happened to him?” asked Mrs. RWP.

“I don’t know,” I replied. “I can’t remember whether he is still alive.”

Because I don’t like to leave loose ends hanging, I decided to do the only sensible thing and find out. I went to the computer and googled “Robert Goulet” and discovered that Robert Goulet is not still alive. He died in 2007 about a month before what would have been his 74th birthday.

What absolutely floored me in the article I was reading was that early in his career Robert Goulet had been a member of the cast of the Canadian version of Howdy Doody and not only that, he starred opposite -- wait for it -- William Shatner.

Would I lie to you?

Yes, Virginia, there was a Canadian version of Howdy Doody. It ran on CBC from 1954 until 1959. Instead of a host named Buffalo Bob, however, it had a host named Timber Tom (sounds more Canadian, eh?) . Robert Goulet played the part of Trapper Pierre; William Shatner played the part of Ranger Bob.

As Jack Paar might say, I kid you not.

Talk about being gobsmacked.

One other thing. In one of Robert Goulet’s biggest hits, “If Ever I Would Leave You” from Camelot, he promised he wouldn’t leave us* in springtime, summer, winter, or fall (2:11) .

He lied. He left us in the fall. October 30, 1977, to be exact.

I know, I know. I’m easily entertained.

Man and the computer.

John Kemeny would be so proud.


*okay, it was Julie Andrews

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fifty years ago this week (August 26 to be exact)

The Perfect Nanny
by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman


Wanted: A nanny for two adorable children

If you want this choice position
Have a cheery disposition
Rosy cheeks, no warts
Play games, all sorts

You must be kind, you must be witty
Very sweet and fairly pretty
Take us on outings, give us treats
Sing songs, bring sweets

Never be cross or cruel
Never give us castor oil or gruel
Love us as a son and daughter
And never smell of barley water

If you won’t scold and dominate us
We will never give you cause to hate us
We won’t hide your spectacles
So you can’t see
Put toads in your bed
Or pepper in your tea

Hurry, Nanny!
Many thanks

Sincerely,
Jane and Michael Banks

The rest is, as they say, history.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Go with the flow, or Thou knowest not what a day may bring forth

In my email this morning there was a message from Snowbrush that was so inspiring I want to share it with you. Here it is:

Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again. Enjoy every moment of life.

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the Nova Scotia back country.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt bad and apologized to the men for being late.

I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man. And as I played “Amazing Grace” the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished, I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head was hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I never seen anything like that before, and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years.”

Apparently, I’m still lost...must be a man thing.

(Photo from robmarilyn2012.blogspot.com)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Show biz is my life

When I sign on to my computer, it happens that yahoo.com is the first page I see. On that page today was the link “9 Things You Should Know About Kelly Ripa” but I was not tempted to click on it.

No way, José.

I don’t know what things Yahoo thinks I should know about Kelly Ripa, but in my opinion here are the nine most important things anyone needs to know about her:

1. She is annoying.
2. She is annoying.
3. She is annoying.
4. She is annoying.
5. She is annoying.
6. She is annoying.
7. She is annoying.
8. She is annoying.
9. She is extremely annoying.

Perhaps that is unfair.

Let’s try that again (and these are my thoughts, not Yahoo’s) :

1. A recent quote attributed to Kelly Ripa: “Botox changed my life.”
2. She thinks she is funny but she isn’t.
3. She thinks she can sing but she can’t.
4. She is no Kathie Lee Gifford.
5. She is from New Jersey.
6. She is married to actor Mark Consuelos.
7. She met her husband in 1995 when they co-starred on the television soap opera All My Children.
8. She co-hosted “Live!” with Regis Philbin.
9. She is extremely annoying.

Perhaps that is still unfair. I’m sorry, but it’s the best I can do. Millions, of Americans disagree with me. Can I help it if they’re wrong?


That is not Kelly Ripa (or Kathie Lee Gifford or Mark Consuelos or Regis Philbin) . That is Ruth Warrick in 1973 as Phoebe Tyler on All My Children.

If this post makes no sense to my international readers, it’s probably just as well.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

I probably should not post before I’ve had my morning coffee.

Plus, I am old and getting more curmudgeonly all the time.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Atheists, take a 10-minute break. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.

Today my friend Light Expectations out in southern California posted the words of Psalm 8 from the Old Testament on her blog.

Here they are.

Psalm 8 is worth reading and pondering all by itself, but I could not help thinking of Tom Fettke’s magnificent choral anthem based on it, “The Majesty and Glory of Your Name”.

Here is the choir and orchestra of Hyde Park Baptist Church of Austin, Texas, with “The Majesty and Glory of Your Name” (6:10) .

I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to sing and shout and laugh and cry and jump up and down and run around outdoors and throw my hands in the air and lie prostrate on the floor all at the same time.

Electric guitars and drums just don’t affect me that way, but first sopranos hitting that high Bb and second basses hitting that low Eb and all those “Alleluias” do it every time.

Somebody tell the atheists they can come back now.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

August in French is août

...and it isn’t pronounced ay-out or ah-oat or even oot.

It’s pronounced ooh.

As in:

Ooh, it’s hot.
Ooh, school is already back in session.
Ooh, we desperately need rain.
Ooh, aren’t you thankful for central air conditioning?
Ooh, the grass is dying.
Ooh, the birds are thirsty.
Ooh, in six months we’ll be wishing it was hot.

Ooh.

It comes between zhwee-ay and seh-tome(br).


Roger, over, and ay-out.














P.S. -- For an amazing lesson in things French, I recommend this post by Vagabonde.